Create a Shopping/Blog Site easy with the right tools

You can easily set up your own Shopping/Blog site in no time using the right components

These are some of the pieces I use to create and manage our site. I can recommend them because I use them. To start with you need a host for your site. This is the host we use.

WPMUDEV – Everything you need for an excellent site

WPMUDEV Web Hosting



An all encompassing hosting and support site


Becoming a member of WPMUDEV makes you a part of not only a great Web Host but also a community of members with valuable information. You have 24/7 online support via their excellent chat, you can ask questions or opinions of other members, and you have full access to many plugins for optimization, SEO, security, CDN a dedicated server (this is a very important item) and more. They are WordPress experts. With everything you get with your membership you can’t beat their service for value. The current host for it’s highly recommended.

Host Gator – a great choice for a page host

HostGator site host


Host Gator

Create your own site now!




We have found Host Gator to be an excellent hosting site with a variety of options to suit everyone.

Web hosting that scales from easy to expert.
A ton of website hosting options, 99.9% up-time guarantee, free SSL certificate, easy WordPress installs, and a free domain for a year. Starting at only $2.75/mo* (depending on your payment choices).

They provide excellent support with an online chat feature available 24/7 which I love using. Much better than trying to find the right time of day for business hours in another place in the world.

Corel PaintShop Pro Ultimate – awesome image editing

Corel PaintShop Pro

Corel PaintShop Pro 

I use PaintShop Pro Ultimate to handle all the images on our site. It’s got all the power of tools like PhotoShop but is much easier to learn and work with, and is priced better. They have good support and tutorials if you need them but I did pretty good just by looking over some basic guides and learning by doing. I highly recommend it. – a very popular site structure method






Once you have chosen your host then I recommend installing WordPress which is free with most hosts. This installs a framework based around themes and plugins. Once you have selected your theme and customized it you have an available webpage that you can publish immediately! If you are planning just a blog I estimate you can be up and publishing posts in less than 2 hours. If you are going to include a store like we have then of course there is a lot more work to do.

I can code my own HTML and CSS and can build my own web page but it is a lot of work and while I have more flexibility that way I’ve learned that using the framework does all the heavy lifting and you can customize almost anything you want. What few things I can’t do the way I want there is usually some way to work around it.

Note that there is a site which does hosting for you and creates only WordPress framework pages. While I’ve never worked with their site I have heard that even though are a trustworthy host that you have much less flexibility in your page design and tool set than if you host with someone independent and install the framework. It’s easily confused. So always search for and work with 


The following items only apply if you are using a WordPress site


Ashe Pro Theme – our theme of choice

Ashe Pro Theme

Ashe Pro Theme





We’re using the Ashe Pro Theme as our page template. Your default will come with a couple and there are thousands out there to choose from – both free and paid. I liked this theme so much that it was worth paying the one-time fee to have it (many themes have a monthly or annual cost. This one doesn’t not. I especially liked that).

The theme allows me to do everything I need and I like how it organizes the page. Well worth the small amount I paid for it.


Ultimate Social Media – a Must Have for building a presence for your site in the all important social media world.

Ultimate Social Media

Ultimate Social Media



Having a social media presence is critical now days for any site whether you are working on just a blog or a full eCommerce platform. This plugin is the best I found to make that easier. It supports all the current social media outlets with completely configurable like/share/follow buttons that can be placed on any page or post, made static or floating, show like counts if desired, and uses mouse-over options to allow one button to server several optional functions depending on what the user would like to do.

The buttons are visually appealing and look very professional. It was very easy to set up and didn’t need any advanced or complicated configuration settings – just your social media links. I highly recommend this. Go to my blog or recipes page and read a full post and at the bottom you can see the plugin in action. I’m sure you’ll be impressed.

Blog2Social – put your posts online with a click or schedule automatic posting to suit your preferences.








Continuing with the all important Social presence, this plugin provides super-easy ways to take your blog posts and post them online to all your social media accounts. Supporting all the main social media groups you can easily post pages or posts manually or the plugin can automatically post them for you either immediately or scheduled. You can control the schedule and post information at the best viewing times controlled separately for each social platform.

You can see a preview of how each post will look on your social accounts and use different formats if you choose. I generally use the defaults because they show up looking nicely.

No better way to keep multiple social accounts all informed of your latest information and posts without tedious manual work in each account. It hooks in easily and takes care of all the technicalities for you. I really rely on this tool.


Better Robots.txt – improve your search rankings

Better Robots.txt

Better Robots.txt





One of the many ‘behind the scenes’ things that goes on with web pages is that they are searched by companies like Google, Microsoft, etc. That’s how they know what to show you when you search for something (referred to as indexing). The programs doing this are called robots (or bots for short). These index files that are built by the bots are what search engines like Google use to find results for you.

The bots make their best guess of how to search your page, but they are just a computer program and their guesses may not be correct. Also there may be pages you don’t want searched at all.  This is all managed by a little file that is on the host called robots.txt. You can manually update this file and send it to the host yourself but that’s tedious and it’s easy to make mistakes. And if there is something wrong in the file there is a good chance the searches will not work at all and your site will be very hard to find by searching.

A much easier solution is a plugin to manage it. Better Robots.txt  is the choice I made to help me with this important but tedious task. It automatically analyzes your site and builds a good file that in my opinion covered everything I needed. I can also manually edit it if there’s a special circumstance I want the search engines to take into account. It simplifies the process, helps catch typing errors, manages make sure the file is on the right place on the host, etc. I consider this a must-have.




Disclamer: Please note that I either use all of these recommendations or they are highly recommended by assorted communities.  Also note that we are affiliated with many of these programs/services.

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